Originally posted on PandoDaily:
Why would you pay $9.99 or more for one album on iTunes when for the same price each month you can hear millions of songs on a streaming music platform like Spotify?
The concept of digital downloads is something more and more listeners are questioning as new numbers from Nielsen Soundscan show that album and track sales continued to plummet in the first half of 2014. From January 1 to June 29, the industry sold 121 million albums and 593.6 million tracks. Compare that to the 142 million albums and 682.2 million tracks sold in the first half of 2013, we see declines of 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The rate of these declines closely match the accelerating decline of physical CD sales through the 2000s. In other words, Spotify is doing to iTunes what iTunes did to CDs.
It’s pretty clear that streaming music is to blame for the decline in digital sales. Since 2011…
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Originally posted on NspireD2: Learning Technology in Higher Ed.:
In “the old days” professors warned students about Wikipedia or flatly forbid its use. Still not recognized as an acceptable primary source, Wikipedia today is often suggested as a place to start exploring a topic. An article in Wired Campus, Academics Continue Flirting With a Former Foe: Wikipedia, includes the following quote:
“Wikipedia is the prime resource for free knowledge. If you’re not in Wikipedia, you’re not in the public consciousness.” (Dariusz Jemielniak)
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A Shipping Container Costs About $2,000. What These 15 People Did With That Is Beyond Epic [trueactivist.com]
All you need is around $2000 to begin building one of these epic homes – made from recycled shipping containers! Check out some of these amazing creations!
A luxury home doesn’t always necessarily mean thousands of square footage, towering great rooms and gilded toilets. Take these homes for example: to begin building one of these epic houses, all you need is $2,000. That $2,000 will buy you a shipping container. What you do with that shipping container… well, that’s completely up to you. Some creative people have found a way to transform this rudimentary “room” with metal siding into luxury housing that blows us away. These homes are epic.
The legislation repeals what backers said was an outdated California law prohibiting commerce using anything but U.S. currency.
Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, the bills author, said earlier this week the bill reflects the popularity of forms of payment already in use in California like bitcoin and that even rewards points from businesses, such as Starbucks Stars, could technically be considered illegal without an update to currency law in the nations most populous state.
California lawmakers approved the measure on Monday, just days after the failed Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox received court approval to begin bankruptcy proceedings in the United States as it awaits approval of a settlement with U.S. customers and a sale of its business.
Who Are the Invisibles?
“They’re highly skilled professionals. I’m not talking about the factory worker toiling away anonymously or the person who’s cleaning the hotel room. They’re important too,” says Zweig. “But what I wanted to focus on were the people who are highly educated, very well trained, and very talented and who chose specific fields and certain roles that would put them behind the scenes.”
For most Invisibles, “the better they do their job, the more they disappear,” says Zweig. “It’s only if something goes wrong that they’re ever thought of. If they do their job perfectly, they are unnoticed.”
Zweig, a former magazine factchecker like me a prime example of an Invisible job, wanted to find out why people choose to be Invisible at work and what those of us who aren’t Invisibles can learn from them.
The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was fired a hundred years ago this weekend.
The assassination in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, triggered World War I and changed the course of the 20th century. The consequences of that act were devastating. But the beginning of the story sounds almost like a farce — complete with bad aim, botched poisoning and a wrong turn on the road.
Today, in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you dont have to hunt around for the spot where it all took place. A big purple banner announces it in white capital letters: “The street corner that started the 20th century.”
People take photos as streetcars rumble by. And according to Dr. James Lyon, an expert in Balkan history, the street would have looked almost identical a hundred years ago — it just would have had a few more trees.
A Route Lined With Flags, Fans … And Assassins
IS A university degree a good investment? Many potential students are asking the question, especially in countries where the price of a degree is rising, as a result of falling government subsidies. Recent research suggests that the conventional wisdom remains true: a university degree pays handsomely. In America and the euro zone, for example, unemployment rates for graduates are far below average. Yet the benefit of university varies greatly among students, making an investment in higher education a risky bet in some circumstances.
If Jean Guéhenno had never existed, France would surely have had to invent him. A model writer and intellectual who neither collaborated nor accommodated the enemy, he refused to publish a single word as long as his country was under Nazi control. A leading essayist of the Popular Front, regularly skewered by the far right, he vowed, as of July 1940, to confine his thoughts and feelings to a private journal. It is a mystery why “Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944,” first published in 1947 and still a standard reference in France, is only now appearing in English in a fine translation by David Ball. Is there something about our own political climate that allows us finally to hear Guéhenno’s voice clearly?
The son of a poor shoemaker and a veteran of World War I, Guéhenno pronounced gay-AY-no rose against all odds to the pinnacle of academic respectability. He was 50 and a teacher when he started keeping his diary, and he brought to his reflections on the occupation qualities missing in the younger generation of Resistance intellectuals: midlife melancholy and a fierce skepticism that didn’t preclude taking sides.
IF HEADLINES translated into trading volumes, the yuan would be well on its way to dominating the world’s currency markets. It once again graced front pages this week after moves to lift its status in London, the world’s biggest foreign-exchange market. This was the latest instalment of a five-year-long public-relations campaign. Since 2009, when China first declared its intention to promote the yuan internationally, a string of announcements and milestones has cast the Chinese currency as a putative rival to the dollar.
The hype rests on several seemingly impressive numbers. Yuan deposits beyond China’s borders have increased tenfold in the past five years. The “dim sum” bond market for yuan-denominated debt issued outside China has gone from non-existence to a dozen issuances a month. And the yuan is the second-most-used currency in the world for trade finance.
Is inherited wealth making a comeback?
Yes, says Thomas Piketty, author of the best seller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” Inherited wealth has always been with us, of course, but Mr. Piketty believes that its importance is increasing. He sees a future that combines slow economic growth with high returns to capital. He reasons that if capital owners save much of their income, their wealth will accumulate and be passed on to their heirs. He concludes that individuals’ living standards will be determined less by their skill and effort and more by bequests they receive.
To be sure, one can poke holes in Mr. Piketty’s story. Since the book came out, numerous economists have been doing exactly that in book reviews, blog posts and academic analyses.
Moreover, given economists’ abysmal track record in forecasting, especially over long time horizons, any such prognostication should be taken with a shaker or two of salt. The Piketty scenario is best viewed not as a solid prediction but as a provocative speculation.